Nordic Whisky #23 - Gjoleid Svenneprøven Cask 9305
Gjoleid Svenneprøven Cask 9305, 3 YO, 47 %
This is one of the two first releases from spirits giant Arcus in Norway. Arcus AS is Norway's largest wholesaler of wine and liquor. It was created when it was demerged from the state owned wine and liquor retailer Vinmonopolet on January 1, 1996. The split was a result of an EFTA ruling and the outcome was to keep retailing operations in Vinmonopolet, while the import, export, production and storage operations were transferred to Arcus.
Vinmonopolet ("The wine monopoly") was established as a private company under state control on November 30, 1922. The company was created as a consequence of the laws in place during the Norwegian prohibition period. The name reflected the fact that at the time wine was the only 'strong alcohol' was allowed to be sold in Norway. Over the years Vinmonopolet (and later Arcus) have been heavily involved in spirits production, especially the flavoured spirit Akevitt ("Aquavit"). They are also well-known for the blended scotch Upper Ten.
In 2010 Arcus started an internal project to look into whisky production, and we now see the first results of this ongoing project.
The Gjoleid Svenneprøven Cask 9305 was matured in an American Oak Oloroso Sherry Butt. It was distilled in early 2010, and bottled on 2013-10-25 - the age is given as 3,5 years on the bottle. The total outturn was 1221 50 cl bottles. Arcus experiment with different mashbills (recipes), and for these two first releases they have used a mix of Pale Barley, Pale Wheat, and Beech Wood Smoked Barley. The name "svenneprøve" can be translated as "practical exam" in a craft.
Nose (21/25): My immediate association here is nuts! Not that the whisky is nuts in any way, it is a sound product. It has a disctinct nutty character on the nose, specifically almonds and dry peanut shells. I also pick up almond pudding, some fruits and mild spices. There is a hint of rubber here - think bicycle wheel repair kit.
Taste (21/25): Creamy and oily. Again pronounced nuttiness - almonds. There's fruits here - definitely some sherry influence. Full-bodied and robust.
Finish (20/25): More of the same really, but not for long. It has a rather short finish. A hint of caramel is added.
Balance (20/25): This is a promising product, but it is as yet far too young. Releasing a 3,5 year old sherry butt matured whisky is bold, I would say. But I love the fact that they put it out there for us 'whisky nerds' to try. We will definitely keep an eye out for further releases from Arcus. Look out for the review of the bourbon matured whisky that was released alongside this one - in just a few days.
Sláinte! - Thomas